NOAA 2001-R283
Contact: Delores Clark


Richard H. Hagemeyer 1924 - 2001

Richard "Dick" Hagemeyer, 77, former director of the National Weather Service Pacific Region, passed away on Oct. 25, 2001, from complications associated with pneumonia in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Hagemeyer is internationally recognized for his leadership in developing the United States Tsunami Warning Program, modernizing weather services in Hawaii and the Pacific region, and improving coordination of tropical cyclone response in Pacific Rim countries.

NOAA Acting Administrator Scott Gudes said, "Dick was a dedicated and energetic public servant. His interest in NOAA and improving weather services in the Pacific region made him a valuable member of our management team. Dick possessed that unique combination of technical expertise and an unwavering commitment to his employees and the communities where he lived. He will be sorely missed."

His recent accomplishments include support for the installation of the Emergency Management Weather Information Network in 21 Pacific Island nations – a low-cost system that provides real-time access to critical information needed for natural disaster preparedness and response. Hagemeyer also played a key role in helping Pacific Island jurisdictions develop the capability to use forecasts of El Nino and other climatic conditions to minimize the effects of droughts, floods and tropical storms.

For the past 19 years, Hagemeyer was responsible for overseeing weather services in Hawaii, Guam, American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Hagemeyer was the Manager of the U.S. Tsunami Program and United States representative to the International Coordinating Group for the Tsunami Warning System in the Pacific, which he chaired for several years. He was the only civilian member of the United States Military's Pacific Command Meteorological Group.

During his 51 years of Federal service, Hagemeyer managed multi-million dollar budgets and hundreds of employees.

"Dick was a skilled administrator with many years of experience in budget planning and resource management. He was also a meteorologist and understood the operational side of the National Weather Service. His knowledge of weather forecasting coupled with his fiscal acumen was a great combination. Dick was a fixture at the National Weather Service, well known and respected, and we will miss him," said National Weather Service Director retired general Jack Kelly.

After serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Hagemeyer completed his education at Parks School of Aviation and Engineering, St. Louis University. He joined the National Weather Service (then the U.S. Weather Bureau) in 1950 serving in Washington, D.C., the Phoenix and Wake Islands, Palau, and Majuro in the Marshall Islands, where he opened the station in support of the atomic bomb testing operations on Eniwetok. For
the next 30 years, he held numerous managerial positions at the headquarters level of the Weather Service and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in Washington, D.C. He returned to Hawaii in 1982 as the regional director. In 1987, he received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the department's highest award, for outstanding leadership of the Pacific Region.

Hagemeyer had a special affection for the people who worked for him and for the communities they served throughout the Pacific. Among the accomplishments in which he took greatest pride was the expansion of meteorological training opportunities for Pacific Islanders. He was also committed to ensuring that the jurisdictions he served received the benefits of the most advanced technology available. Hagemeyer supervised the modernization of regional weather offices, transitioning from the days of hand-drawn weather maps to the sophistication of state-of-the-art satellites, Doppler radar, and advanced super computers. Under his direction, new facilities were built in Hawaii (including the Weather Service office in Lihue and the Honolulu Forecast Office on the University of Hawaii campus); Tiyan, Guam; Koror, Palau; and Pohnpei, FSM. Construction of a new office in American Samoa has begun and a new office in Hilo is planned. Technological upgrades during his tenure created a world-class facility at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Ewa Beach, Hawaii.

Hagemeyer traveled extensively both for business and pleasure. He and Helen, his wife of 48 years, enjoyed visiting exotic locales all over the world. But they also relished long weekends on the Big Island, visiting relatives and relaxing on the beach. Although Hagemeyer maintained a busy schedule, he still found time to be involved in community and church affairs. A long-time resident of Hawaii Kai, he served on neighborhood associations and was a member of the Elks Lodge. He was active in the Holy Nativity Episcopal Church and represented the Diocese at the Church's Triennial Convention for the past 15 years.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Hagemeyer is survived by his wife Helen; a sister, Mary Elizabeth Crook, Columbus, Ohio; a brother, Bart Hagemeyer, Jr., Zanesville, Ohio; a nephew, Bart Hagemeyer, meteorologist-in-charge of the Melbourne, Florida, weather forecast office; and many nieces and nephews. Memorial Services will be held Friday November 2, 2001 at 2:00 p.m. HST at Holy Nativity Episcopal Church in Honolulu.